Thursday, February 27, 2014

Of Mice and Children

Our second annual quilt auction debuts next month.  Eek!  I'm so excited!  I want to take care of a bit of "housekeeping" ahead of time, though.  You have probably grown quite tired of seeing the heading "Spring Auction Preview #Whatever."  So I'd like to spice things up in this space by introducing the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  Research, cancer statistics... you know, the nerdy variety of spice.

Anyhow, if you followed last year's auction, you might remember that I auctioned last year's quilts straight off of this blog, with bids being handled in the "comment" section  (see an example here).  Also, 100% of the proceeds went to a charity called Angels Among Us, which supports the Brain Tumor Center at Duke.

I want to state that I still very much support and appreciate Angels Among Us.  This year, however, I'm doing things a bit differently.  The proceeds from this year's quilts will go to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF).  My decision to switch charities is two-fold.

1. Supporting the under-funded

The PBTF is pediatric specific.  Did you know that 96% of all public (NCI) cancer research funding goes toward adult cancers, leaving only 4% for our nation's children?  Furthermore, the American Cancer Society gives less than 1% of it's annual budget to pediatric cancer research?    I could go on, but bottom line: pediatric cancer research is miserably under-funded.  Therefore, it falls to private organizations and indviduals (like you and me!) to raise the funds that will make a difference for these precious children.

Furthermore, while leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer and great strides have been made in its treatment in the last 25 years, brain tumors are the second most common form of childhood cancer and the five-year survival rate is not as great at only 75%.  These kids need more options!

And we'll be fundraising until all the children are healthy enough to play like this.

Lastly, only two cancer therapy drugs specific to children have been developed in the last 20 years.  This means that our children are taking drugs developed for adults, and most of those drugs are 20+ years old.  The long-term effects on the children are staggering:  if they survive the cancer, 60% will suffer devastating late-effects such as secondary cancers, lung and heart problems, muscular difficulties and infertility.

The PBTF is the world's largest, non-governmental source of funding for childhood brain tumor research.  They fund cutting-edge research all over the nation, including our most beloved Duke.  To give you a picture of one example of the great work that the PBTF funds, I'd like to share with you the work done in the Becher Lab at Duke.  Dr. Oren Becher has developed the very first mouse model for diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG).  The DIPG is a parent's worst nightmare.  There is no cure.  There are no survivors.  None.  It's a cancer that invades the brainstem; the cancer cells don't group together (where they might be cut out), but they hide around other, healthy cells.  These children, sadly, have a prognosis of 12 to 14 months.  But Duke researchers, with the help of the PBTF, are working to change that.

2.  The Pragmatist in Me

By supporting the PBTF, I can run the auction on Ebay.  Won't that be fun?!  I can designate 100% of the proceeds to go directly to the PBTF, and there will be a little "tag" on the item to say so.  I think (and hope!) that this will be a much easier (not to mention, more legitimate) way to run this auction.


So here are some of our quilts for this year... kept safe from the little hands in my home by XL Ziploc bags and a seldom-used closet.  I hope you've set aside a bit of that tax return to help cure the kids by winning a quilt.

Do you have a favorite yet?  The quilt in the first picture (above) is Sneak Peek #9.  And to think that I'm expecting the mail carrier to deliver at least half a dozen more in the coming week!  They ALL go up for auction on March 31... Save the Date!

1. People Against Childhood Cancer
2. CureSearch
3. CureSearch

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